Maintaining Trust and Confidence: A Comprehensive Look at the Issue of Teachers and Drug Testing
Teachers and Drug Testing: Education is now very essential in the world today. The role of education in our world today is to shape students’ futures and to do this, the environment should be conducive to learning. The only way to do this is for guidelines to be put in place for teachers, students, and everyone around the schooling environment to follow.
When I got my first teaching job in Florida, I went through different procedures, including running a drug test. Three teachers made the employment list, but only two got the job after the drug test.
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The other teacher failed the drug test, and the authorities discovered she was into drugs. If the school had not carried out the drug test, they would have had a drug user for a teacher, which wouldn’t have been safe for the students and even the other teachers.
Why Should Teachers Be Drug Tested?
I have had conversations with various teachers on this matter, and as usual, there will always be different opinions.
Some teachers agreed that every teacher should undergo a drug test, while some argued that teachers shouldn’t undergo any drug test as its a breach of trust in some form.
I have also been to various seminars, and I have had quality conversations with people that were once addicted and their effects on them, which makes it easy for me to talk about it as I’ve had a little knowledge on it.
One of your responsibilities as a teacher is to portray an excellent example to your students. It would be best if you were considered a role model to some of them, and that begins by being diligent and outstanding in your endeavors.
As a teacher, you are responsible for your health, and it should be your top priority, and one way to do this is by abstaining from drugs.
I was subjected to a drug test at my first job. After I passed the test and was employed, the school authorities told me they needed to trust us to entrust their students’ safety in our hands – which was obvious.
In 2018, I attended a seminar hosted by National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), and right in that seminar, I realized that getting drug tested helps improve your sanity and relationship with other professions.
- You should be drug tested as a teacher because it maintains a standard way of living for teachers. It helps to give you a clear insight into what you need to do, handle awful situations, and maintain a high quality of teaching to your students.
- This act helps maintain the integrity teachers should uphold in the eyes of the students, and it sends a clear message that the intake of drugs is never acceptable. It also promotes a healthy lifestyle and brings about a high level of responsibility.
- Getting drug tested helps maintain a particular baseline which helps promote teaching quality in different schools across different districts.
- It serves as a means of evaluating the standards the teachers should portray and as a benchmark for specific required criteria.
- Drug testing will help expose the teachers who are into drugs to avoid any form of accident or incident that may compromise the safety of the students. If any of the teachers failed the drug test as a result of being under the influence of drugs, it could be as a means of support to those that abuse it or are addicted to it.
The school may suggest rehab for them or other means that could help keep them from drugs- but of course, after they must have faced the consequences, either through suspension or losing their jobs.
When Is The Right Time For Teachers To Be Drug Tested?
Different schools have their policies on the right time for teachers to be drug tested. Like I said earlier, the first time I got drug tested as a teacher was when I got my first job in Florida, which came during the pre-screening process before being accepted.
Some schools run drug tests on their teachers, while others do not. It depends on the school and district policies on when the teachers should be drug tested.
The most common style of drug testing teachers is the “impromptu way.” The management may want to catch the teachers off guard to fish out teachers under the influence of drugs. They don’t give the teachers prior notice or even let you know where the process will occur.
In 2020, before the lockdown, on a Wednesday morning, my school management informed us when we arrived at school that we’d be having a medical test before classes.
Everyone thought the test was for COVID-19 but we found out when the Medical team arrived that it wasn’t a COVID-19 test but a drug test.
To cut the story short, five of our teachers failed the test and they were relieved of their jobs. It was the first time after my employment that they ran a drug test on us.
It gives the management an idea of the prospective teachers they will employ and how they meet the school’s standards by not having any drug-related issues that might impact their ability to perform their duties effectively.
A scenario or accident on the school premises may prompt management to get the teacher drug tested. This incident may lead to the management taking an emergency drug test on the teacher and every teacher due to suspicion of the influence of alcohol.
Can Teachers Smoke Marijuana (Weed)?
The legality of teachers smoking weed depends on the rules and regulations guiding a particular state or district. There are some states in the U.S. where weed intake is allowed—states like Alaska, Colorado, Washington DC, Massachusetts, California, and Oregon.
In states like this, marijuana serves medicinal and recreational purposes. So, just like every adult in these states, teachers are also allowed to smoke weed.
As much as it isn’t illegal in these states, its legality has certain limitations. Smoking marijuana in public places, workplaces, or workspaces is not allowed.
So as a teacher, smoking weed is prohibited in the classroom or school environment. You can smoke at home or in a private space that isn’t your workplace, only if the state or city doesn’t prohibit weed smoking.
You can work with the legalization of marijuana in the given state but adhere to their laws of prohibition in prohibited places. But if your school does drug tests for its teachers, it would be better to abstain.
You can work with the legalization of marijuana in the given state but adhere to their laws of prohibition in prohibited places. But then if your school does drug tests for its teachers it would be better to abstain.
What are the Pros and Cons of Drug Testing Teachers?
- Drug testing helps in enhancing public trust in the education sector. Parents will gladly send their children to schools that take these measures on their teachers.
- As a parent, when you know that teachers go through drug testing, you’ll want to enroll your child in the school because you trust your children to be in the hands of sane teachers.
As we both know there are two sides to every coin these are the Cons
- Some teachers I have spoken with feel drug testing teachers shouldn’t happen as it is an infringement of their privacy.
- By running a drug test on a teacher, you are invading the teacher’s privacy and thereby building an atmosphere of mistrust in the teacher.
- The teacher may misjudge the administrators, building a lack of trust between the teacher and the administrators.
- Some people argue that drug testing teachers has a negative aspect which allows the administrators or management to look at the teacher’s past use of drugs instead of the teachers competence in education.
- As much as drug testing teachers can be crucial in creating a conducive environment for learning, financing it could be a problem. In drug testing, certain things must be available, which will cost a reasonable amount of money.
- Expenses like laboratory analysis, testing kits, challenges to the testing process, and personnel to administer the test. Legal implications can also arise from false positives.
- Financing drug testing is expensive.
- Lastly, drug testing teachers can bring about false positive results.
- False results have implicated some teachers who don’t do drugs either through swapping another teacher’s result or a random mistake from the laboratory.
- It also brings about stigmatization among teachers. The teacher that is found positive may feel embarrassed facing other teachers which may cause damage to the mental health of the teacher.
I believe drug testing teachers is essential. However, before the teachers’ drug test, the school management should carefully consider the options because of the effectiveness, financing, ethical concerns, trust, and legal concerns.
It is essential to balance the students’ safety and respect the teachers’ rights and dignity. Well, in my opinion, I believe that there are better approaches to addressing drug abuse within the education system that may provide better results than solely depending on drug testing.
As a teacher, you should attend seminars about abstinence from drugs, and if you do drugs, you should speak to a therapist or go to rehab to keep your dignity intact.